Stated Income Mortgages: How They Work and Who They Benefit

In the world of real estate financing, stated-income mortgages have carved out a niche that caters to a specific subset of borrowers. These loans, often referred to as “liar loans,” gained notoriety during the housing boom of the early 2000s but have since evolved with stricter regulations to ensure responsible lending. This blog post delves into how stated-income mortgages work and who stands to benefit from them in today’s market.

Understanding Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) Loans

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) loans are a financial tool used primarily in commercial real estate financing. This ratio measures a property’s ability to generate enough income to cover its debt obligations, including mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance. Lenders typically require a minimum DSCR to approve a loan, ensuring that the property generates sufficient cash flow to repay the debt. These DSCR loans are attractive to investors and property owners because they provide a clear assessment of a property’s financial health and its capacity to sustain debt. By focusing on the property’s income-generating potential, DSCR loans offer a structured approach to evaluating and securing financing for commercial properties.

What Are Stated Income Mortgages?

Stated income mortgages are loans that allow borrowers to qualify based on their stated income rather than verified income. Unlike traditional mortgages, which require extensive documentation such as W-2s, tax returns, and pay stubs, stated income mortgages rely primarily on the borrower’s word regarding their income. However, it’s important to note that lenders do take other steps to verify the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, such as reviewing bank statements, credit scores, and employment history.

The Evolution of Stated Income Mortgages

In the early 2000s, stated-income mortgages were widely accessible and often used by borrowers who had difficulty proving their income through traditional means. This led to widespread abuse and contributed significantly to the housing market crash of 2008. In response, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act introduced stringent regulations to curb risky lending practices.

Today, stated-income mortgages are much more regulated. Lenders are required to ensure that borrowers can repay the loan, which includes a thorough assessment of their financial situation. This modern version of stated income mortgages is also known as “alternative documentation loans” or “bank statement loans.”

How Do Stated Income Mortgages Work?

The process of obtaining a stated income mortgage involves several key steps:


The borrower completes a loan application, stating their income. Unlike traditional loans, they are not required to provide pay stubs or tax returns. Instead, they might be asked for alternative documentation such as bank statements, which show regular deposits that align with their stated income.

Credit Check

Lenders still conduct a credit check to assess the borrower’s creditworthiness. A higher credit score can improve the chances of approval and may result in more favorable loan terms.

Asset Verification

To mitigate risk, lenders often require proof of sufficient assets. This could include bank statements, investment accounts, or other financial assets that demonstrate the borrower’s ability to manage mortgage payments.

Down Payment

Stated-income mortgages typically require a larger down payment compared to traditional loans. This could range from 20% to 30% of the property’s purchase price, reflecting the higher risk taken on by the lender.

Interest Rates

Borrowers should expect to pay higher interest rates on stated-income mortgages due to the increased risk to the lender. These rates can vary significantly depending on the borrower’s overall financial profile, including credit score and the size of the down payment.

Who Benefits from Stated Income Mortgages?

Stated income mortgages are not for everyone. They are specifically designed to benefit certain types of borrowers who face unique challenges in proving their income through conventional methods. Here are some groups that often benefit from these loans:

Self-Employed Individuals

Self-employed borrowers often have fluctuating incomes and numerous business expenses, making it difficult to document their earnings accurately. Stated income mortgages allow these individuals to qualify based on their actual income, as reflected in their bank statements, rather than their net income after expenses.

Freelancers and Gig Workers

The rise of the gig economy has seen an increase in freelancers and independent contractors who might struggle to meet the documentation requirements of traditional mortgages. Stated income loans offer a solution by considering their gross income and financial stability.

Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors often rely on rental income and capital gains, which may not be easily documented through standard income verification methods. Stated income mortgages can facilitate investment opportunities by allowing investors to leverage their overall financial health and cash flow.

Retirees with Substantial Assets

Retirees may have substantial assets but limited fixed income, making it challenging to qualify for a traditional mortgage. By focusing on assets and overall financial stability, stated-income mortgages can enable retirees to secure financing for new homes or investment properties.

Commission-Based Employees

Individuals whose income is primarily commission-based, such as sales professionals and real estate agents, may experience significant income variability. Stated income mortgages can accommodate these fluctuations by assessing income over a longer period, often through bank statements.


Stated income mortgages have evolved significantly since their pre-2008 heyday, now serving as a viable option for a niche group of borrowers who might otherwise struggle to obtain traditional financing. By understanding the unique benefits and potential drawbacks of these loans, self-employed individuals, freelancers, investors, retirees, and commission-based employees can better navigate the mortgage landscape and find solutions that suit their financial circumstances.

In today’s regulated lending environment, stated-income mortgages offer a blend of flexibility and opportunity, ensuring that a diverse range of borrowers can achieve their homeownership and investment goals.


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